NATIONAL NEWS

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signs law requiring big businesses to disclose emissions

Oct 7, 2023, 12:58 PM

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Large businesses in California will have to disclose a wide range of planet-warming emissions under a new law Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Saturday — the most sweeping mandate of its kind in the nation.

The law requires more than 5,300 companies that operate in California and make more than $1 billion in annual revenues to report both their direct and indirect emissions. That includes things like emissions from operating a building or store as well as those from activities like employee business travel and transporting their products.

The law will bring more transparency to the public about how big businesses contribute to climate change, and it could nudge them to evaluate how they can reduce their emissions, advocates say. They argue many businesses already disclose some of their emissions to the state.

But the California Chamber of Commerce, agricultural groups and oil giants that oppose the law say it will create new mandates for companies that don’t have the experience or expertise to accurately report their indirect emissions. They also say it is too soon to implement the requirements at a time when the federal government is weighing emissions disclosure rules for public companies.

The measure could create “duplicative” work if the federal standards are adopted, the chamber and other groups wrote in an alert opposing the bill.

California has made major strides to set trends on climate policy in recent years. The state has set out to ban the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035, expand renewable energy and limit rail pollution. By 2030, the state plans to lower its greenhouse gas emissions by 40% below what they were in 1990.

This was Democratic State Sen. Scott Wiener’s third attempt to get the sweeping emissions disclosure rules passed in California. Last year, it passed in the Senate but came up short in the State Assembly. Wiener said the new emissions information will be useful for consumers, investors and lawmakers.

“These companies are doing business in California,” Wiener said. “It’s important for Californians to know … what their carbon footprint is.”

Major companies, including Apple and Patagonia, came out in support of the bill, saying they already disclose much of their emissions. Christiana Figueres, a key former United Nations official behind the 2015 Paris climate agreement, said in a letter that the bill would be a “crucial catalyst in mobilizing the private sector to solve climate change.”

Seventeen states already have inventories requiring major emitters to disclose their direct emissions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. But the new California mandates will be go beyond that to make companies report a wide range of direct and indirect emissions.

Public companies are typically accustomed to collecting, verifying and reporting information about their business to the government, said Amanda Urquiza, a corporate lawyer who advises companies on climate and other issues. But the California law will mean a major shift for private companies that don’t yet “have the infrastructure” to report information that will include a wide-range of greenhouse gas emissions, she said.

The federal rules, proposed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, would require major public companies to report their emissions and how climate change poses a financial risk to their business.

Under the California law, the state’s Air Resources Board has to approve rules by 2025 to implement the legislation. By 2026, companies have to begin annually disclosing their direct emissions, as well as those used to power, heat and cool their facilities. By 2027, companies have to begin annually reporting other indirect emissions.

___

Sophie Austin is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Follow Austin on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter: @sophieadanna

National News

Melissa Shepard, left, directing attorney of Immigrant Defenders Law Center, explains the Biden adm...

Associated Press

Behind Biden’s asylum halt: Migrants must say if they fear deportation, not wait to be asked

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Posters inside a complex of giant, white tents tell migrants in English, Spanish, Mandarin and Hindi they should tell an officer if they fear being deported and “your claim will be heard.” On a side wall where migrants are seated in a processing area, a video conveys the same message on […]

24 minutes ago

FILE - People walk past the Fiserv Forum ahead of the 2024 Republican National Convention, Thursday...

Associated Press

With GOP convention over, Milwaukee weighs the benefits of hosting political rivals

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Downtown Milwaukee turned red last week as thousands of Republican National Convention delegates and other party stalwarts gathered in Wisconsin’s largest Democratic stronghold to formally rally behind Donald Trump as their candidate for president in the pivotal swing state. Outside the security zone where the convention took place, residents grumbled, ignored or […]

44 minutes ago

A second-floor balcony at the Hemingway Home & Museum in Key West, Florida, on Wednesday, July 17, ...

Associated Press

Ernest Hemingway fans celebrate the author’s 125th birthday in his beloved Key West

KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) — Ernest Hemingway spent the 1930s in Key West, Florida, and more than six decades after his death, fans, scholars and relatives continue to congregate on the island city to celebrate the author’s award-winning novels and adventure-filled life. Hemingway Days started in 1981 with a short-story competition and a look-alike contest. […]

58 minutes ago

Associated Press

Salt Lake City wildfire prompts mandatory evacuations as more than 100 firefighters fight blaze

Salt Lake City officials have ordered residents to evacuate some areas ahead of a wildfire as more than 100 firefighters work to contain the blaze. Helicopters and airplanes were dropping buckets over the flames Saturday as ground crews tried to contain the fire on Ensign Peak. The first fire crew was dispatched around 4:30 p.m. […]

1 hour ago

Democratic Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi speaks at the North Carolina Democratic Unity Dinner fundra...

Associated Press

Pelosi delivers speech to NC Democrats with notable absence — Biden’s future as nominee

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — In a state expected to help decide the presidency, House Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi did little to quell speculation on President Joe Biden’s path forward as the Democratic nominee to a room full of North Carolina Democrats on Saturday. Pelosi addressed more than 900 people at the North Carolina Democratic Party […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

89-year-old comedian recovering after she was randomly punched on New York street

NEW YORK (AP) — An 89-year-old comedian is recovering after being randomly punched and knocked to the ground while waiting to cross a street in New York earlier this month. D’yan Forest said she had just stopped at a coffee shop and was heading to a swimming pool when someone came up to her from […]

4 hours ago

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signs law requiring big businesses to disclose emissions